Birthday Party

Yesterday we had a birthday party for Emma. Her birthday was actually on the twentieth, but we didn't think Easter weekend would be good for the birthday party. She seemed to have a lot of fun and she even helped to open her presents. She especially liked to take the pieces of tissue paper out of gift bags. She would pull one out and throw it aside, then she would continue with the process. However, Mel and I did have to help her a bit with opening the presents, and she did begin to lose interest before we finished. She also liked her birthday cake. She had eaten some birthday cake on her actual birthday. That was much messier than this time, but it was still fun to watch her make a mess with the cake.

After the party, we didn't feel like cooking dinner, since we were pretty tired and had been on our feet for much of the day, so we went to the Irish Democrat for dinner. Since they do not have a children's menu, we fed Emma parts of our meals. Toward the end of dinner, I accidentally gave Emma a bit of jalepeño pepper in the food I put in front of her. To put it mildly, she did not care for the jalepeño. She pulled it out of her mouth and started screaming. We tried to get her to drink some milk or water, but she pushed those away as well. She calmed down fairly quickly when she ate some bread. I guess she isn't ready for spicy foods yet!


Stimulating the Economy

Mel and I did our share of stimulating the economy tonight when we went to the bike shop. We had dropped both of our bikes off there a couple of weeks ago for tune-ups. In addition, we had planned on having some repairs done on Mel's bike including re-spoking the rear wheel and replacing the chain. As it turned out, my bike needed a new gear shift lever. But even with all of this, we didn't feel we would be doing our part to bring the country out of its recession, so we also bought a Burley d'lite trailer for our bikes so we can take Emma on bike rides with us. That should really aid us in training for RAGBRAI since we won't have to find someone to babysit her. Of course, there will be times when we still will leave her with someone so we can ride without the extra weight of the Burley and with the better maneuverability we will have without it. Of course, we haven't actually received the tax rebate that we will be using for this purchase yet, but we should receive it May 2 which is before the bill will be due for the credit card with which I made the purchase.


Weight Watchers Week 48

I do not know why I give up so easily when I have a misstep on Weight Watchers. On Friday I ate a bit too much, and then on Monday I ate too many of the birthday treats that were in the cubicle adjacent to mine at work. But that doesn't mean that I had to just give up on counting points the rest of the week. Counting points on the other days would have been better than just ignoring them altogether. Tonight we are going to dinner at Biaggi's for Mel's birthday. I am going to try to make a healthier choice when we are there!

Today's weight: 204.2 pounds
Change from last week: +3.2 pounds
Change from start of Weight Watchers: -27.2 pounds
Change from beginning of 2008: -3.6 pounds
Amount from Goal: 9.2 pounds



I don't know why, but this past week I have had quite an urge to snack in the evenings. I still managed to lose weight by this past Wednesday's weigh-in, but I am not sure if I will be able to keep it up if I can't get my snacking under control. I think I need to fill up on more healthier foods and fewer foods on less nutritional value. Besides that, drinking more water may help in my weight loss. I keep thinking that attending Weight Watchers meetings would help as well, but I don't have that much additional weight to lose before I reach my goal, and I think I can do it on my own. I'll check my weight tomorrow morning to see how I'm doing. Tomorrow we are having a pizza lunch at work. I will have to be very careful to make sure I do not eat too much as is very easy to do with pizza.


It's hard to believe that one year ago today, Emma was born. In the past year she has changed so much. At first she was so tiny, and she didn't do much except for sleep and eat. Now she babbles quite a bit, feeds herself finger foods, drinks from her sippy cup on her own, crawls very quickly, stands, and plays with toys. In the past few days she has been progressing towards walking. She can take a few steps, but then she falls down. It will be any day now that she it toddling around the house. Mel had to work this evening, so we will be celebrating Emma's birthday with her tomorrow evening.


An Apple a Day

I had a doctor appointment today. Nothing is wrong, it was just a regular checkup. I am having my cholesterol level checked, but only because it hasn't been done in a while. I am not expecting it to be outside of normal range. My doctor did tell me though that I need to be sure I am getting regular exercise, and that I should cut down on my consumption of pop. Of course I knew that, but now that my doctor has instructed me to cut down on the amount of pop I drink, I should.

Weight Watchers Week 47

Today's weight: 201.0 pounds
Change from last week: -2.2 pounds
Change from start of Weight Watchers: -30.4 pounds
Change from beginning of 2008: -6.8 pounds
Amount from Goal: 6.0 pounds


Happy Saint Patrick's Day

OK, here's the obligatory holiday post. However, I didn't do anything to celebrate Saint Patty's Day, aside from wearing green. I could have taken time off from work to go to the SaPaDaPaSo parade in downtown Cedar Rapids this morning, but it was kind of cold and rain was forecast. Besides, I had to watch Emma this evening, so drinking after the parade would have been out. Maybe if the weather is better next March 17, we can take Emma to the parade. Besides, she would probably appreciate it more next year than this year.

Weekend with Emma

This past weekend was Mel's weekend to work again, so much of the weekend was just Emma and me. We did some shopping on Saturday, including buying one of her birthday presents. Because one of Mel's coworkers was alone this weekend with her boyfriend out of town and her son staying with a friend, Mel, Emma, and I joined this coworker for dinner Saturday night at Carlos O'Kelly's. We had a wonderful dinner, complete with margaritas. Before returning the coworker home, we went for ice cream nearby at Cold Stone Creamery. There I ran into a former student of mine. I did not recognize him until he called out "Mr. _____" which made me look at his name tag. Now I don't blame myself at all for not recognizing him. He is a junior in high school this year and I hadn't seen him since he was in sixth grade, so he looked vaguely familiar, but still quite a bit different.

Sunday, Emma and I continued our shopping by buying groceries and exchanging a dress that we had bought for her to wear for pictures of her that we will have taken next weekend, just after she turns one year old. Emma was a lot easier to take care of on Sunday. On Saturday she very reluctantly took a nap, and it wasn't a very long one. I was able to get Emma to take a more substantial nap on Sunday, which allowed me time to pay some bills. Hopefully she doesn't give me much trouble with going to bed this week when Mel works evenings.


Not Reality. Actuality.

Over the past few months, Mel and I have found ourselves seeking out alternatives to network TV to watch in the evening due to the writers' strike. One channel we have found ourselves watching more and more is truTV (formerly Court TV). Besides watching Forensic Files, we have found ourselves watching Most Shocking and Most Daring. These are programs which show real life video of shocking moments such as police chases, riots, robberies, and assaults. The commercials for Most Daring make it out to be the moments that are too shocking for Most Shocking. I have to say that I agree with that assertion. Some of the video clips shown on Most Shocking seem painful even to watch. I guess that next week, when most network programs resume with new episodes, our truTV watching will diminish some, but that will probably only be until the reruns return this summer.

Weight Watchers Week 46

Today's weight: 203.2 pounds
Change from last week: +1.2 pounds
Change from start of Weight Watchers: -28.2 pounds
Change from beginning of 2008: -4.6 pounds
Amount from Goal: 8.2 pounds


New Manager

I was not feeling well most of last evening, and I considered staying home from work sick today. However, I just got a new functional manager at work and she is in the office today through Thursday. While I could have stayed home sick, I felt that I was well enough to go to work. Besides, I didn't think it would make a good impression on her. I won't see my manager too often as she works out of our San Antonio, Texas, office, so I figured I should make every effort to make it to work today. She seems pretty nice. Tomorrow I will have a one-on-one meeting with her. I normally work from home on Wednesdays, but I think that I should really have this meeting face-to-face as she is in town.


Last night, Mel and I took our bikes in to Northtowne Cycling and Fitness to get them tuned up. We need to get them in shape for RAGBRAI XXXVI. This summer's RAGBRAI will be more challenging than last year's ride as the route this summer is supposed to be the eleventh hilliest RAGBRAI ever. The amount of total climb will be apparent after last year's ride which was the third least hilly RAGBRAI. Incidentally, my first two RAGBRAIs both appear in the top ten list for most climbing. While at the bike shop, we also checked out some Burleys. We figure if we can bring Emma along on our rides with us, we will be able to get more training miles in this spring and summer.


Steak Fry

Mel, Emma, and I headed to Keystone, Iowa, tonight to visit my grandmother and my mother. We also went to dinner at the Legion Hall Steak Fry. It had been quite a while since I had been to the Keystone steak fry. I admit, the steak wasn't as good as it would have been if we had gone to Texas Roadhouse for dinner, but that's not really the point. The steak fry raises money for the American Legion in Keystone, and we got a chance to see some family. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the steak wasn't good. It was good, but just not as good as at a steak restaurant.

Speaking of Idiots

Last night around 6:30, I was driving north on East Post Road in Cedar Rapids. I was travelling at 35 miles per hour, which is the speed limit on that road. For a significant distance, another car was following me quite closely. Then, while travelling along a particularly windy part of the road, the idiot decided to pass me! This was of course a no passing zone due to the limited distance that one could see ahead in the densely wooded area. So, to warn oncoming drivers of the potential danger, I blasted my horn during the entire time this asshole was passing me. And, to attempt to educate the driver as to the error of his ways, I gestured to him that I thought he was making a selfish, unwise, and dangerous maneuver with his vehicle. As soon as he got around me, he sped off. Of course, I caught up with him at a nearby stoplight. I guess his hazardous driving techniques did not help him to accomplish much!

Please Western Iowa, Vote This Idiot Out of Office!

Would the voters of western Iowa please do all of us a favor and vote Representative Steve King out of office this fall? Yesterday this idiot made the assertion that terrorists would be "dancing in the streets" if Barack Obama were to win the presidential election in November. Does King believe that the fact that Obama's middle name is Hussein would lead Islamic extremists to feel that Obama would be sympathetic to their cause? Apparently we should only consider candidates for president if they have "white-sounding" names.



Finally, after over two and a half years with my current employer, I am getting promoted. There is a slight, very slight, pay increase that comes along with the promotion, but mostly this promotion is important to me because it makes me feel like my company values me as an employee. I have always felt they did, but the promotion helps to further confirm that feeling. My title did not change much; I just dropped the word "Associate" from the beginning of my title. In fact, I dropped the "Associate" from my title in both my email signature and from my business cards last summer when my company changed its logo, necessitating the ordering of new business cards at that time.

Bathroom Remodel

The remodeling of our main bathroom began today with the bathtub and shower surround being replaced. An extra, adjustable, shower head was also installed. It looks much nicer than what we previously had even though the drywall still needs to be finished around the tub and shower surround. We are also replacing the vanity and sink, but those have not arrived yet. They should really help to improve the look and functionality of the bathroom as well.

Almost a Year Old

As I was driving Emma to daycare this morning, I turned around a few times to see how she was doing. Every time I turned around to look at her in her rear-facing car seat, I noticed that she was looking over her right shoulder to see me. I think she would really like to have her seat turned around so she can view the front of the car, seeing people in the front seat, and looking out the front window. Well, in just a couple of weeks she will be one year old, and we will get to change her seat's position. I bet she'll enjoy it!

Weight Watchers Week 45

I didn't lose any weight this past week, but then again, I didn't gain any either. So all is good.

Today's weight: 202.0 pounds
Change from last week: 0.0 pounds
Change from start of Weight Watchers: -29.4 pounds
Change from beginning of 2008: -5.8 pounds
Amount from Goal: 7.0 pounds


Trip to Coralville

Mel, Emma, and I were supposed to go to Ankeny for our nephew's birthday party. Unfortunately, his sister was sick today, so the party was postponed until next Sunday. Since we had planned on getting out today, we decided to head down to Coralville to go to the Coral Ridge Mall. We had to get a few new onsies for Emma as most of hers are getting too small. He birthday is coming up in a few weeks, so we didn't want to buy too much, but she really needed something to wear under other clothes.

At the mall we stopped at Sears where we bought some clothes for our newest nephew who was due to arrive in a little over a week. Much to our surprise, while we were checking out with our purchase, Mel's brother gave her a call to let us know that their son, Atticus, had been born this morning! We plan on stopping in Ames to see him next Sunday after our other nephew's birthday party.


Hockey Game

Mel and I went to a Cedar Rapids RoughRiders hockey game tonight. My company had a group of people at tonight's game. However, despite the large group of people from my company at the game, I only recognized three of my coworkers. I guess that is what happens when my employers employs as many people as it does across multiple locations in the area. Unfortunately, the RoughRiders lost the game tonight when the Chicago Steel scored a goal with about thirty seconds remaining in the final period, breaking what had been a tie game since earlier in the quarter.